Just over two decades after the 9/11 attacks devastated New York City, Brooklynites gathered together over the weekend to honor the lives of those lost on the day and afterwards.
Nearly 3,000 people died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and many more, including former East Flatbush firefighter William Gormley, have since died from respiratory illnesses and cancers caused by the toxic conditions at Ground Zero in the weeks and months following the attacks.
Neighbors, Councilmember Justin Brannan and state Senator Andrew Gounardes, and members of the New York City police and fire departments and servicemembers stationed at the Fort Hamilton Army Base gathered in Bay Ridge for a memorial vigil on Sunday.
As the number of New Yorkers born after 9/11 increases, vigils and other commemorations are helping to educate those younger members of the community about their local history, and the lives lost in the city.
“It is for those we lost and those who weren’t around yet that we must Never Forget,” Brannan said on Twitter on Sunday. “Indeed, it is the compassionate, resilient, and heroic spirit – even in the face of inconceivable evil – that defines us as New Yorkers. That is the story that must always be told.”
Brooklynites huddled together as the rain came down on Sunday, remembering the friends, family members, and neighbors they lost that day. In Williamsburg, more than 200 members of the New York City Fire Department attended an memorial mass held by Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel-Annunciation Parish. Every year, the wife and daughter of Daniel Shear, a Williamsburg firefighter who was killed on 9/11, attend the service.
In Marine Park, the rain sent attendees inside the Carmine Carro Community Center for their ceremony, where neighbors who were present in lower Manhattan on 9/11 spoke of their experiences on the day and afterward.